The White House has announced President Trump will visit a plant belonging to Dana Inc., an automotive supplier in Warren, Michigan, to tout the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which replaced NAFTA.
The NAFTA replacement agreement was eagerly endorsed by automakers and suppliers, which had been haunted for more than two years by the fear that a new agreement could fail, leaving the industry’s supply chains in chaos if Trump made good on his threat to withdraw completely from the trade pact.
The plant is owned by Toledo, Ohio-based Dana the President belongs, which has plants in Michigan and Ohio, two states viewed as critical in this year’s political contests. The Thursday visit will be the president’s first stop this year in Michigan, but his second visit in the last two months.
Meeting with auto suppliers will give Trump an opportunity to highlight the recent passage of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which marks off one of his top campaign promises. Trump said the renegotiated trade deal will be “great for the automobile business” during a rally last month in Battle Creek, Michigan, located on the west side of the state.
Warren, just north of Detroit, is located in Macomb County, where working-class voters supported Trump by a 12-point margin in 2016. Trump did not win the city of Warren, however.
Macomb County voted for former President Barack Obama in the previous two elections. The largest employers in the county are Michigan’s Big Three automakers: General Motors Co., Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Ford Motor Co.
Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Michigan), one of the Democrats who supported the trade deal, noted, “We have to be honest, this trade deal won’t undo the deep damage NAFTA 1.0 did to American workers, American manufacturing, and our environment.
“Today, factories sit empty in Michigan and across my district while workers are unable to compete with sub-par, non-union workers in other countries. It is just not going to uproot factories from overseas and bring them back home. This agreement is an improvement, but our work is just beginning to strengthen American manufacturing, invest in workers, and grow our economy,” Dingell added.
Dingell, however, said the agreement earned her vote because of significant improvements made over the initial version negotiated by Trump last year.
“We fought hard to improve the original deal because what the Trump Administration first proposed wasn’t sufficient. Democrats fought for stronger labor and environmental standards and tougher enforcement mechanisms that for the first time in the history of trade agreements that could penalize companies that abuse workers,” Dingell noted.
Rep. Andy Levin (D-Michigan), whose district Trump will visit, said he voted against the agreement because he does not believe that the Mexican government will uphold its end of the bargain. Mexican workers are inhibited from joining independent unions.